Cordierite wall flow filters
The most common filter is made of cordierite (a ceramic material that is also used as catalytic converter supports (cores)). Cordierite filters provide excellent filtration efficiency, are (relatively) inexpensive, and have thermal properties that make packaging them for installation in the vehicle simple. The major drawback is that cordierite has a relatively low melting point (about 2200°F) and cordierite substrates have been known to melt during filter regeneration. This is mostly an issue if the filter has become loaded more heavily than usual, and is more of an issue with passive systems than with active systems, unless there is a system break down.
Cordierite filter cores look like catalytic converter cores that have had alternate channels plugged – the plugs force the exhaust gas flow through the wall and the particulate collects on the inlet face.
Silicon carbide wall flow filters
The second most popular filter material is silicon carbide, or SiC. It has a higher (4900 °F) melting point than cordierite, however it is not as stable thermally, making packaging an issue. Small SiC cores are made of single pieces, while larger cores are made in segments, which are separated by a special cement so that heat expansion of the core will be taken up by the cement, and not the package. SiC cores are usually more expensive than cordierite cores, however they are manufactured in similar sizes, and one can often be used to replace the other. Silicon carbide filter cores also look like catalytic converter cores that have had alternate channels plugged – again the plugs force the exhaust gas flow through the wall and the particulate collects on the inlet face.
The characteristics of the wall flow diesel Particulate filter substrate are as follows: Broad band filtration (the diameters of the filtered particles are 0.2-150 μm); High filtration efficiency (can be up to 95%); High refractory; High mechanical properties. High boiling point.
Ceramic Fiber Filters
Fibrous ceramic filters are made from several different types of ceramic fibers that are mixed together to form a porous media. This media can be formed into almost any shape and can be customized to suit various applications. The porosity can be controlled in order to produce high flow, lower efficiency or high efficiency lower volume filtration. Fibrous filters have an advantage over wall flow design of producing lower back pressure. Ceramic wall-flow filters remove carbon particulates almost completely, including fine particulates less than 100 nanometers (nm) diameter with an efficiency of >95% in mass and >99% in number of particles over a wide range of engine operating conditions. Since the continuous flow of soot into the filter would eventually block it, it is necessary to ‘regenerate’ the filtration properties of the filter by burning-off the collected particulate on a regular basis. Soot particulates burn-off forms water and CO2 in small quantity amounting to less than 0.05% of the CO2 emitted by the engine.
Metal fiber flow through filters
Some cores are made from metal fibers – generally the fibers are “woven” into a monolith. Such cores have the advantage that an electrical current can be passed through the monolith to heat the core for regeneration purposes, allowing the filter to regenerate at low exhaust temperatures and/or low exhaust flow rates. Metal fiber cores tend to be more expensive than cordierite or silicon carbide cores, and generally not interchangeable with them because of the electrical requirement.
Disposable paper cores are used in certain specialty applications, without a regeneration strategy. Coal mines are common users — the exhaust gas is usually first passed through a water trap to cool it, and then through the filter. Paper filters are also used when a diesel machine must be used indoors for short periods of time, such as on a forklift being used to install equipment inside a store.
There are a variety of devices that produce over 50% particulate matter filtration, but less than 85%. Partial filters come in a variety of materials. The only commonality between them is that they produce more back pressure than a catalytic converter, and less than a diesel particulate filter. Partial filter technology is popular for retrofit.